How much should it cost to change your address?
Nearly 40 million Americans move each year, meaning an awful lot of address changing is going on. And a lot of them paid more than they should have to make sure their mail gets to the right place.
No one should pay more than $1.05. That's the cost of doing it online through the U.S. Postal Service. The charge is part of its verification procedure. Or, you don't have to pay at all. To do it for free, just grab an address change postcard at any post office.
Other methods can be considerably more expensive. More than 400,000 people used two address change websites run by an Ohio-based company and ended up paying a lot more. The company that runs Change-My-Address.com and Change-of-Address.us ran afoul of consumers and state consumer watchdogs after charging up to $29.95 for those who used its address change services.
Consumers were lured by the favorable placement in online searches and the impression that they would be paying only $1 to change their address. It turned out a disclosure of additional charges had been hidden below the visible screen area consumers would see when filling out the forms.
The Better Business Bureau, which give the company an "F" rating, has received hundreds of complaints, and online complaint sites are littered comments by consumers who feel burned by the address-change services.
The volume of complaints resulted in action by attorneys general in two states, Ohio and Washington, each of which brought cases against the site's parent company, Form Giant. The company settled the charges last month and is offering $3 million in refunds to those who used the site. The deadline to file a claim for a refund is Aug. 7.
Those who are eligible for the refund should have received an email explaining the procedure, according to the Ohio Attorney General's office.
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